Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Professional Mourners for Hire

Interesting story from NPR this morning on hiring "professional mourners" to show respect for the deceased.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

China's ancient 'donut-like' homes: Where to see the tulou

Among the more intriguing pieces of history in Fujian are the tulou -- large, round, rammed-earth buildings dating back centuries.

xiamen tulou -- inline 1

xiamen tulou -- inline 6

Nicknamed "four dishes with a soup," the Tianluokeng cluster of tulou at Nanjing features four round fortresses surrounding a fifth square one.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Dragon Boat Races in Tuscaloosa (@aldotcom) tweeted at 4:55 PM on Sat, Apr 27, 2013: Tuscaloosa Dragon Boat races draw hundreds of competitors, donors (photos, video) ( Get the official Twitter app at

Sunday, April 21, 2013

River Of Poems And Paintings: China's Li River

The River of Poems and Paintings sounds like something out of a fairy tale, but it's actually the nickname of China's Li River. Winding through over 50 miles of the country's Guangxi region, the picturesque body of water is the perfect setting for an artist looking for inspiration from nature's bounty.

Monday, March 25, 2013

SITE 2013: Trials and Triumphs of Blogging Internationally

Our conference presentation for the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education

Thursday, March 28th 10:15-11:15 AM

Paige Vitulli, University of South Alabama, United States
Peggy Delmas, University of South Alabama, United States
Susan Santoli, University of South Alabama, United States 

SITE Blogging Internationally from Paige Vitulli

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Hip First Lady for China?

Interesting piece by the Atlantic on the wife of incoming Chinese president Xi Jinping. She's a professional singer - Peng Liyuan.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Chinese Buffet

My daughter's fortune cookie
says that her feet
will touch the soil of many lands

The China King buffet costs twice as much
on Sunday as it does during the week
Somewhere in Pakistan a man has made news
by burying an infant alive

It is less than two months since China
Already I have abandoned my chopsticks skills
for a fork to shovel the rice, stab the chicken

There is a multi-tiered chandelier hanging
over the smeared sneeze guards
on the buffet line, offering french fries,
fried chicken, crab rangoon, and sushi

A potbellied man passes me,
his gray braid swinging unappetizingly
close to the food trays

In the booth next to our table
a middle-aged couple clasp outstretched hands,
heads down, eyes closed, thanking God
for this Chinese buffet

- Peggy

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

NAEA 2013: Connecting Communities with Chopsticks...

I am leaving Mobile, AL today and headed to Fort Worth, Texas to the National Art Education Association 2013 Annual Conference, my FAVORITE professional conference of the year!

Stay tuned for the posting of multiple slideshows sharing the experiences Dr. MaryJo Cochran, Dean at Troy University, and I have had related to exploring and sharing Chinese culture and the arts.

Thursday, March 7, 11:00AM - 11:50AM
Connecting Communities with Chopsticks : Celebrating Chinese Culture through the Arts with Teachers and Students

Paige Vitulli and Maryjo Cochran 

Infuse your teaching with increased cultural awareness and subsequent appreciation for Asian fine and performing arts through hands-on projects for students.
Best Practice Lecture
Meeting Room 204B/Center/2nd Floor
"The four-day convention includes over 1,000 participatory workshops, panels, seminars for job-alike groups . . . research reports, discussions, exhibits, and tours . . . keynote addresses by world-acclaimed educators, artists, researchers, and scholars . . . with the opportunity to connect with your colleagues from all over the  world. Each year some 140-200 exhibitor booths displaying the latest art  textbooks, high-tech software, prints, slides, curriculum materials, equipment, and programs, as well as the latest studio and art history media are made available for examination and review to art educator delegates.

It is a professional development opportunity to update yourself on the vista of state-of-the-art materials to advance visual art instruction in your program. All NAEA sessions and events are 100% content-oriented and substantively based. There are no NAEA non-content  functions such as golf, sightseeing, shopping tours and the like. Sessions are scheduled from 8:00 am to 11:00 pm every day."

In response to the fabulous feedback and questions from our session today, I am adding the following images of supplies we used. They were ordered through NASCO. I was in a very convenient place (the NAEA Nasco booth) to acquire quick answers.

Thank you to all who attended and shared in the conversation.
Paper Lantern Supplies...just add glue, water and brushes.

More highlights of my NAEA day at 

Asian studies week challenges Chinese art stereotypes

The USA Vanguard reports on a fascinating talk: "In her efforts to change Western misconceptions about Chinese art, and Chinese culture in general,  Dr. Katharine P. Burnett visited USA on February 26 to deliver a talk entitled “Speculations on Why Originality Can’t Be a Traditional Chinese Value (When It Is).” Her lecture was a part of the ongoing events at USA to celebrate Asian Studies Week."


"Dr. Burnett, who is a professor of Chinese Art History at the University of California, Davis, delivered an enlightening speech. Her focus is primarily upon art criticism and theory during the seventeenth century, an era in time when China reinvented itself dynamically on many levels, but one cannot fairly critique Chinese art from any period without first understanding how Western views affect our understanding of the culture."

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Asian Themed Events @ USA!

Dear USA Community:

Celebrate and learn about Asia! We will be focusing on CHINESE ART APPRECIATION. The following pleasant and enlightening events are

POT LUCK DINNER. Monday, February 25, at 6:00 PM, in Alumni Hall. Please bring any kind of dish you can! RSVP to Dr. Harry Miller (
Peggy and I took one of my new favorite Chinese dishes
 to the Pot Luck Dinner tonight: Sesame Noodles.
It is a cold dish with cucumber and scallions.
The Sesame sauce is made of sesame paste or tahini paste,
peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and chili oil.
(We also took pork fried rice.)
We used soba this time...reminded me of Ramen Noodles!
They are actually Japanese and made of buckwheat.
Soba (そば or 蕎麦) is the Japanese name for buckwheat.

TOMORROW's Events...

HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCES COLLOQUIUM. Tuesday, February 26, at 3:30 PM, in the Arts and Sciences Dean's Conference Room (HUMB 122). Dr.
Katharine Burnett (University of California at Davis) will deliver a talk entitled, "Speculations on Why Originality Can't Be a 'Traditional Chinese Value' (When It Is)."

FIFTH ANNUAL ASIAN STUDIES LECTURE. Tuesday, February 26, at 7:00 PM, in the University Library Auditorium. Dr. Burnett will show us "What Originality Looks Like in Late Ming Dynasty Chinese Painting: A Case Study of Wu Bin's 'On the Way to Shanyin.'" The lecture is free and open to the public.

For more information, please contact Dr. Miller (

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Fantastic Photo Essay on Lunar New Year

Incredible pictures in The Atlantic Monthly capturing the New Year celebrations in Asia. Be warned, the photo of the man with the live snake is, well, words fail.

Also, as the New Year marks the mass migration of Chinese home for the holidays, one of my original posts is worth reviewing:

Friday, May 11, 2012

Last Train Home

To get an idea of the sheer number of Chinese citizens, not to mention the issues they face in the move from rural to urban dwellers, I highly recommend you watch "Last Train Home." This is a documentary produced in 2009 about the world's largest human migration that takes place once a year. This film follows one family as they struggle to improve their lives by seeking work in the city, leaving their ancestral village. It is heartbreaking, but well worth viewing. - Peggy

You can watch the trailer on the web. The documentary is available on Netflix.
Now you can also view the documentary online at PBS:

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Chinese 'Pingpong Diplomacy' Player Dies

"Zhuang, a three-time world champion, was a major sporting figure in China. Photographs of him with Cowan created a stir because of poor relations between their two countries. Following the incident, Chinese leader Mao Zedong ordered the 15-member American team to be invited to China."

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Asian New Year Celebration @ USA!

The Chinese Students & Students Association (CSSA), Vietnam Students Association (VSA), and Council of International Organization (CISO) held a celebration for the upcoming (February 10th) Asian New Year (Zodiac Year of the Snake) today at Moulton Tower on USA's campus. The weather was gorgeous, hinting at spring, after the early morning deluge. There was a crowd of around 150 students, staff, and faculty to enjoy the events which included Dragon dancing (even to Gangnam Style!), drumming, and Shaolin kung fu demonstrations by the members of the Shaolin Institute of Mobile ( The Shaolin performers showed great agility and skill. The smell of the food provided for attendees wafted temptingly on the breeze. As promised, the firecrackers were enough to make the crowd take a few steps back and cover their ears. 

This was a great cultural event, as Paige's photos show. We were happy to soak it all in.

University of South Alabama
Mascot Southpaw greets us
College of Education folks enjoying
the Asian New Year Celebration

Moulton Bell Tower


Secret of Chinese Handmade Dumpling

Jason Zhang @CnUnivision sent Peggy and me a tweet "introducing us to the best Chinese dumpling in Beijing." Peggy replied "pure dumpling poetry, we're not worthy." This beautiful video was attached to the tweet we received...

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Store bought dumpling wrapper verdict

Store bought dumpling wrappers win hands down over homemade for convenience, plus they make a pretty presentation. They tasted just as good as homemade, but I had a problem with my potstickers actually sticking to the pan, and I lost a few of the little fellas whose wrappers tore. The brand of wrappers I used was Gyoza.
Picture is of dumplings prior to being cooked.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Day of the Dumpling

Green Beans with Wild Mushrooms
Didn't have wild mushrooms, so we used "tame" mushrooms.
Fresh green beans
Green Beans with Wild Mushrooms Recipe

Stir Fry Spinach with Garlic
Baby Spinach
Stir-fry Spinach with Garlic

Stir-fry Spinach with Garlic Recipe

Napa Cabbage and Pork Steamed Dumplings

Napa Cabbage
Dumpling production

Voila...a dumpling
Steaming Dumplings

The dumplings were delicious, Peggy gets 5 stars ***** for the recipe selection and dumpling production. After steaming a batch of dumplings, we used the pot-sticker technique and fried, then steamed the second batch - even better! 

Peggy made the wrappers, which was quite a process, so she will try the store-bought wrappers tomorrow with the left-over filling - stay tuned for the report on these. Rolling the home-made wrappers thin enough to avoid chewiness was a challenge, nevertheless, they were good enough for me to consume at least a dozen.

The green beans with wild mushrooms were good, but we agreed not as good as the green bean recipe we made previously. I chose it because I wanted to try a dish with the oyster sauce I purchased for our last Chinese Cooking Lab. I found it not to be as flavorful as expected - maybe because the mushrooms we used weren't "wild."

The simple stir-fry spinach with garlic was a keeper. I will certainly make that again. My secret ingredient was chile oil (instead of paste) because that is what we had and LOTS of fresh garlic - how could we go wrong?

We did revisit our practitioner manuscripts on the art of calligraphy and Terra Cotta Warriors. We organized, delegated and set deadlines. 

Time to write... Chinese proverb: "Talk Doesn't Cook Rice."

Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Weekend of China Inspired Reunions...

Paige & Kim
Two great reunions took place in my life this weekend. The Arts in Education 2013 Reunion session and my fabulous weekend with Kim Mitchell, Carnegie Visual Arts Center Executive Director.  I have not seen Kim since we met her during our May 2012 Confucius Institute China adventure.

The Arts in Education Reunion naturally took on an Asian theme this year. My China experience and Jessica Freeland's (Arts in Education Coordinator) honeymoon trip to Japan provided inspiration and motivation to share our knowledge and passion for Asian arts and culture with our grant participants.

Incredibly fortunate timing brought Kim Mitchell to town this weekend to "research" Mardi Gras for the second year of Decatur, Alabama's Mardi-Gras-style celebration: Carnegie Carnival, presented by the Carnegie Visual Arts Center. So in addition to being able to share Mobile Mardi Gras with Kim, she was able to join me in sharing our China experiences with the Arts in Education teachers and students in the reunion workshop Saturday morning.

Paige Vitulli, Kim Mitchell, and Jeannette Fresne
presenting at the Arts in Education Reunion 2013: Asia

Paper lantern production

Kim assisting with lantern construction
Tissue paper adds design and color

Chinese Paper Lantern Resources:
How to Make a Chinese Paper Lantern, Martha Stewart Video

Paper Lanterns Lesson Plans:

Great ladies of Decatur, AL researching Mardi Gras for Carnegie Carnival.
Mobile, AL Mardi Gras